Eswatini’s government on Monday hailed the “free and fair” election of 51 male and 8 female MPs to the lower house of parliament.

The 59 MPs were elected on September 29 in the southern African kingdom ruled by King Mswati III. 

The elections are unlikely to offer any political change to the kingdom, with the MPs serving in a purely advisory role to the monarch. 

Candidates for the elections ran independent of any parties, which are banned in the country, and were selected by traditional chiefs close to the king. 

All legislation in the country is approved by the king who has the right of veto. Mswati III also appoints the Prime Minister, the cabinet and judges, as well as commanding the police and army.

A large part of the opposition called for a boycott ahead of the vote, saying the results were a foregone conclusion.

“Mswati’s loyalists are losing ground on the political scene”, says Thantaza Silolo, spokesperson for the leading opposition group, the Swaziland Liberation Movement (Swalimo).

In recent years, the kingdom has been rocked by pro-democracy protests. In 2021, their violent repression by the king’s police and army left around forty people dead.

Friday’s vote, however, took place without any sign of turmoil or violence, with the African Union’s observers noting that “the electoral process was held peacefully and orderly”.

Source: africanews

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